Rash of teen suicides tied to anti-gay bullying
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Prosecutors in New Jersey are deciding whether to file bias crime charges against two Rutgers freshmen in connection with the suicide of a fellow student.
He was one of at least four young men who killed themselves in recent weeks after being bullied over sexual orientation.
18-year-old Tyler Clementi, a talented musician known as quiet but happy, jumped to his death last week.
Prosecutors say he committed suicide after his roommate streamed video on the internet of Clementi having a sexual encounter with a man.
Rutgers freshmen Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei have been charged with invasion of privacy.
More severe hate crime charges related to gay bashing could follow.
"Privacy violations are just the tip of the iceberg," says cyber crime expert Parry Aftab. "We're looking at civil rights violations, wire tap, federal and state, probably harassment and many other crimes."
In addition to Clementi 13-year-old Asher Brown, who told his parents he was gay, fatally shot himself last week after they say bullies pushed him too far.
15-year-old Billy Lucas of Indiana hanged himself three weeks ago after classmates had bullied him for years over his sexual orientation, and 13-year-old Seth Walsh from California died this week, eight days after trying to hang himself from a tree.
He also is said to have endured abuse from students for being gay.
The Trevor Project, a gay and lesbian advocacy organization, has launched YouTube campaigns to try and prevent suicides of young people who are victims of the same types of bullying.
The Trevor Project also has a 24 hour life line where they speak to more than 30,000 young people around the country.
It's still not clear if suicides for young gay men are increasing or if there's simply more reporting of their deaths.
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